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15th May
posted by amber

Brother Dog

In the beginning there were two tribes of men – short, fast men and large, slow men. But they did not live at peace with each other.

The short, fast men were always thinking of new ways to catch animals to eat but the large, slow men would just wander into their camp and take what they wanted. They would leave pretty stones in exchange for the meat and berries that they took, but what good were pretty stones?

Sometimes, if all the short, fast men were off chasing animals and the large, slow men came into the camp and the women were struggling to carry water in baskets or reach fruit down from the tall trees, the large, slow men would help them, but this only made the short, fast men angry. They did not like the idea of the large, slow men spending time with their women and doing jobs the women ought to be doing themselves.

The large, slow men built sturdy woven houses out of large leaves and vines. The women of the short, fast men saw these woven houses one time when they were foraging far from the camp and soon they began to clamour for their men to build such fine houses for them. But the short, fast men had no free time left after chasing down animals and lying around the fire while they ate, so they refused to build woven houses. Caves and depressions in the dirt were good enough for them.

The large, slow men collected snail shells from the lake and made small holes in them and strung them together on vines and wore them around their neck. When they came by the camp of the short, fast men to take food, the women pointed to these strings of shells and indicated that they wanted to have them in exchange for the meat and berries. So they had strings of shells around their necks when their men returned from hunting. And the short, fast men were angered.

The men threw the bodies of the animals they had killed to the ground and the women skinned and gutted the animals and threw the meat into the fire. While the men ate their meat, the women danced and the shells made a pleasing sound but still the men were angered by the large, slow men.

As the night descended, the men’s stomachs were full of meat and they allowed the women to eat and when the women’s stomachs were full, they threw the scraps to the bold wolves who hovered just outside the perimeter of the fire’s flickering light.

“How can we stop the large, slow men from coming into our camp while we are off chasing animals?” one of the men asked.

They asked this question of each other every night, but not one of them ever had an answer.

However, on this night, the youngest of the short, fast men, who only recently had been a boy to be left behind in the camp and not invited on the hunt, answered the question.

“I think the large, slow men are afraid of wolves. I saw them running once, when wolves were chasing them.”

“You saw the large, slow men running?” The other short, fast men were very surprised by this.

“We should make the wolves stay here during the day so that the large, slow men will be afraid to come into our camp.”

“But how can we make the wolves stay here?”

The young man answered, “We must give them more meat and make them come close to us to take the meat right from our hands. And when they are no longer afraid of us, we should put a vine around their necks and bind them to a tree near our camp.”

And this is how Brother Wolf became Brother Dog, and how the short, fast men overcame the large, slow men who vanished from the face of the earth and were never seen again.

StoryADay suggested that we write a fairy tale today. I wrote a fable inspired by a headline about dogs helping homo sapiens overcome the neandrethals.

1 Comment

  1. mary bond

    Quite a plausible story Amber. I like it.

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